countries face similar challenges to create jobs and foster more inclusive growth. The current environment of likely durable low oil prices has exacerbated these challenges.
The non-oil private sector remains relatively small and, consequently, has been only a limited source of growth and employment.
Because oil is an exhaustible resource, new sectors need to be developed so they can take over as the oil and gas industry dwindles.
Over-reliance on oil also exacerbates macroeconomic volatility.
Greater economic diversification would unlock job-creating growth, increase resilience to oil price volatility and improve prospects for future generations.
Macro-economic stability and supportive regulatory and institutional frameworks are key prerequisites for economic diversification...
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Context. On June 7, 2013, the Executive Board approved a 24-month Stand-By Arrangement in an amount equivalent to 400 percent of quota (SDR 1.146 billion or about $1.75 billion). To date, SDR 573 million equivalent to $877 million has been disbursed. The pillars of the program are to: (i) achieve short-term macroeconomic stability; (ii) lay the foundation for stronger and more inclusive growth; and (iii) protect the most vulnerable. Background. Progress in the political transition is leading to increased donor support this year, including from regional partners. On the economic front, growth remains timid, headline inflation has increased, and rising external imbalances have continued to put pressure on foreign reserves. Program implementation has been satisfactory. All quantitative performance criteria have been met. On the structural reform agenda, the authorities have made up for some key delays in areas that include reforming public banks, setting up a household support program, and the tax administration modernization agenda. Program strategy. Prudent fiscal policy, tighter monetary policy, and greater exchange rate flexibility need to be sustained and intensified to contain high external and fiscal deficits, anchor inflationary expectations, and bolster the still lackluster investors’ confidence. Important steps have been taken to strengthen the financial system, notably with the design of public bank restructuring plans, but implementation will be key. Progress on structural reforms—in particular, to improve the business climate—is critical for improving the conditions for private sector-led and inclusive growth. Risks to program implementation are important. Main risks relate to regional and domestic security tensions, setbacks in the political transition, and weaker economic activity in major trading partners. The implementation of program policies will continue to be tested by a difficult social environment and opposition from vested interests. The completion of the fourth review will make SDR 143.25 million (about $220 million) available.
Rapid private sector credit growth in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia has been a result of strong economic growth, financial deepening, and banks’ willingness to explore consumer credit markets. Economic growth, the initial ratio of private sector credit to GDP, price volatility, and nonoil exports are found to be significant explanatory variables, while oil exports and spillovers from oil exporting neighbors were not found to have any significance. The credit growth has financed consumer spending and home ownership rather than investment.
This paper explores the linkages between external sector reforms and public enterprise restructuring, paying attention to the role of the financial sector in ensuring the success of these reforms in the context of a comprehensive medium-term structural adjustment program. It discusses the arguments made in the academic literature on this issue, and analyzes how some countries—namely Algeria, Egypt, and Poland—have tackled reforms in these areas.
Mr. Christopher J. Jarvis, Mr. Balázs Horváth, and Mr. Michael G. Kuhn
This study discusses the importance of export credits, their recent growth, and the trend toward more extensive reliance by official bilateral creditors on export credits as an instrument of financial support, and raises a number of issues regarding the role and limitations of export credit financing, espeically for economies in transition.